My husband and our two older teenage daughters would like to take a 7/8 day smaller cruise ship (less than 400) tour of Croatia in July 2022. Hopefully we will be going into some areas the larger ships can't access and ending the trip with a couple days in Dubrovnik Can anyone personally recommend a cruise line? We would like the ship to be air conditioned and we enjoy historical tours and some unique off the beaten path locations. I appreciate any tips!
We sailed from Venice and visited Croatia’s islands and Split, Pula and Dubrovnik on the Monet. I think there is a newer version of the Monet than we sailed on. It held about 60 passengers.
Most of the small boat cruises I have seen for Croatia have been about 50 passengers on motor yachts which certainly appeal to me. Have you looked at Star Clipper? Or Windstar. They are large, sailing/motor cruisers with up to 250 passengers. I found Google is full of suggestions for Croatia cruises.
I've spent a lot of time googling small cruises to Croatia :) It's hard to find personal reviews or recommendations that aren't attached to the vendor's web site. Thank you.
Our small boat cruise plus land tours in Croatia was a wonderful experience.
What tour company did you use? I'd like to check it out.
I agree with your wishes, but the small ship we went on, MV Monet in 2008, was run by a Croatian company "Elegant Cruises" that went belly up after the Great Recession. We've been on many Windstar trips, but the Monet only had about 24 (?) cabins, much smaller, and it tied up at some docks that the Windstar vessels would not fit at. It was just magical to get off after dinner and walk around a deserted medieval city, no daytrippers in sight. It was a superb trip.
A Rick Steves experience: We were chatting privately with a bartender, and asked him if they got any special instructions from the management. He said he'd been told, "Chat up the Americans, don't speak to the Europeans unless you're spoken to."
There is no reason you need the same itinerary, but here it is:
17 Jul 08 Thu Venice City Tour (Overnight)
18 Jul 08 Fri Venice, Sail 6PM
19 Jul 08 Sat Kopar, Slovenia - Postojna Caves
20 Jul 08 Sun Mali Losinj, Croatia
21 Jul 08 Mon Zadar, Croatia (Overnight)
22 Jul 08 Tue Zadar & Split Croatia (Overnight)
23 Jul 08 Wed Split(Solin,Trogir)Croatiab(Ov'nght)
24 Jul 08 Thu Split, Sail 7AM to Korcula (Ov'nght)
25 Jul 08 Fri Sail 7AM to Dubrovnik & Ov'nght
26 Jul 08 Sat Dubrovnik, Croatia (Overnight)
27 Jul 08 Sun Dubrovnik, Croatia, Sail 2PM
28 Jul 08 Mon Sibenik, Croatia (overnight)
29 Jul 08 Tue Sibenik, Sail at 1PM
30 Jul 08 Wed Venice, Italy. Early disembarcation
Sibenik sounds wrong to me, I think it might have been replaced with Pula, with a great bunch of Roman relics. Maybe Korcula included a private charter of a local boat to a blue grotto, which made it unecessary for us to line up for hours in Capri, some years later. We took a single expensive daytrip from Dubrovnik to both Kotor and Mostar, which was worth every penny, but it ran (border crossings) so late that they had to hold dinner for the bus.
I don't know if it's the same ship, but I see that a 68-meter ship with that name still exists. Windstar ships are more like 440'.
Note that no cruise ships of any kind can dock in front of Dubrovnik, you have to use a cruise port behind the city and take a jammed shuttle or public bus just a couple of minutes to the jammed city (!)
EDIT: I was glad to read Marbleskies later, very fine, reply. I should say that our ship was a bit bigger than the one he describes, and except for tying up right to the bulkhead of small medieval cities, was generally similar to MY definition of small-ship cruising, of which Windstar (mostly 145 passengers, we've been on the 320 as well) is an example. We had hot breakfasts on the Monet, excursions (mostly guided walks, but a few busses) to choose from, and the bar had a real espresso machine (!) Marbleskies' trip sound more like a large private yacht, rather than a conventional, if small, cruise ship. My point is mainly that we did not have to be self-sufficient if we didn't want to.
It was unusual on WIndstar to be able to hit the attraction city after dinner, because the port wasn't right there. But Windstar did have purpose-built piers right in front of Rhodes(?), so we could walk around after dinner. I don't remember any "tender" stops on our Croatia cruise.
5 years ago we did this using the Croatian based "Kleopatra"(sp) booking direct with them. It held a total of about 40, half of the passengers' where Norweigian, with a sprinkling of Australians, Belgians, and 8 Americans--what we look for--not being on a U.S. dominated cruise.
Check them out-they start and end in Split, and I think it was a total of 8 days.
The above link is to my small ship cruise review which, hopefully, answers some of your questions.
We were booked on Katerina-Line but was cancelled due to COVID. Their ships average about 24 passengers. They have different themed cruises, such as hiking/biking. We have seen their boats in many ports and have been to their offices in Opatija, extremely nice and professional. We will try again to sail with them in the near future
Thread bookmarked for future trip planning. Croatia is on the long-term plan somewhere in the 2024-2025 range. Thanks to all for sharing their experiences!
PS, when they cancelled our cruise 2 weeks ago, we debated about another one but decided to cancel. We had our refund with the week. They couldn’t put it back on our credit card but they sent a wire transfer.
We did the Star Clipper Venice to Athens cruise which has great stops in Croatia.
Kind of exciting to be on a tall ship & watch them raise the sails! The food is great.
There were not a lot of teens onboard our cruise, yours might find the young Scandinavian crew interesting!
Each stop offered a couple guided tours to choose from. Many explored on their own as well.